American Libraries

Articles from Vol. 29, No. 4, April

A Branch Blooms in Brooklyn
4. Fifty-four Carnegie libraries still stand in New York City, 18 of them built in Brooklyn between 1904 and 1923. Andrew Carnegie's unprecedented $5.2-million gift to build libraries in New York created the base for its flourishing branch library system,...
Access Denied: The Discarding of Library History
ARE WE DUMPING THE PAPER TRAIL OF OUR PROFESSIONAL HERITAGE IN OUR WHOLESALE RUSH ONLINE? In 1994 author Nicholson Baker inadvertently began one of the more curious chapters in the history of American librarianship, when the New Yorker published his...
A Pie in the Face Is Apparently More Interesting
Everybody apparently knows that Microsoft CEO Bill Gates got a pie in the face during a trip to Europe earlier this year. When I mentioned to friends that I was going to Alabama to follow him around for a day, it was the first thing they thought of....
Broward School Libraries Win After-Hours Service
Nine elementary-, middle-, and high-school media centers in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, area are staying open after classes to take advantage of extended hours authorized by the Florida legislature. A February grant of $58,343 to Broward County media...
Building Poetry Audiences in Libraries
Organizing a poetry reading in New York City is one of life's easier tasks. You can put up a flag saying "Poets Wanted for Reading" or you can hold a reading and ask how many poets are in the audience. Once you know one poet or do one successful reading,...
Chapter Report: Access = Ideas + Awareness - Obstacles
Chapters and libraries serve far different audiences one professional, the other public. They have different missions and different economic structures. But the philosophical issue of equitable access is one that librarians can explore both in terms...
Children's Librarian Fights Challenges, Loses Job
Six months after the Mexico-Audrain County (Mo.) Library District board backed the inclusion of It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris in the library's juvenile collection (AL, Nov. 1997, p. 17), Kathy Herrin lost her job. Despite the board's apparent...
Computers and Books Together: An Interview with Bill Gates
During his February 24 whirlwind tour of Alabama, Bill Gates agreed to a brief interview with American Libraries Editor Leonard Kniffel about the Gates Library Foundation project, the high cost of connectivity, and the future of books. Here's what he...
Ensuring Accessibility at the Government Printing Office
This is my fourth month as the first professional librarian appointed to be the Superintendent of Documents at the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) (AL, Dec. 1997, p. 11-12). I had never anticipated serving in the position, but I am grateful that...
Envoy's Nomination Stalled over SFPL Donation
A philanthropist's largesse toward the San Francisco Public Library has become an obstacle in his bid to become ambassador to Luxembourg, which is stalled in the Senate over his support of gay causes. Last year the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee...
Fifty Years of Silent Service: A Peek Inside the CIA Library
AN UNDERCOVER GLIMPSE OF A LIBRARY WHERE ACCESS IS ANATHEMA AND CLASSIFIED MATERIALS DON'T MEAN DEWEY Although the Central Intelligence Agency has traditionally been among the most publicity shy of all U.S. government agencies, recent years have marked...
First Amendment Rights - You Make the Call
Several months ago, I was conducting a staff-development day in a fairly large public library when the topic of the First Amendment came up. When you talk about the First Amendment in library circles, 99 times out of 100 you can bet the discussion will...
Gates Expands Access Mission during Alabama Visit
Imagine you're the richest man in America. Now imagine all the vain and frivolous ways you could spend your money. Do any of them involve riding around rural Alabama on a bookmobile? They do if you're Bill Gates. The billionaire founder of Microsoft,...
Hawaii Board of Education Fires State Librarian Bart Kane
At 1:20 a.m. on February 20, the Hawaii State Board of Education voted 7-6 to fire State Library Director Bart Kane. The decision followed more than an hour of testimony from 19 librarians and others, while demonstrators outside carried signs saying...
In the Eye of the Library: Poets at the Library of Congress
FOR NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, AN LC STAFFER CHRONICLES THE EVOLUTION OF AN HONOR - FROM CHAIR OF POETRY TO POET LAUREATE Howard Nemerov once wrote, "The Consultant in Poetry is a very busy man, chiefly because he spends so much time talking with people...
Mackay Mines, Comstock Treasure
2. In the 1870s, Virginia City, Nevada, was the right place for a bright, ambitious, young Irish immigrant like John Mackay to find the fortune that everyone sought and very few found. The new Bonanza silver veins of the Comstock he and his business...
Multimedia Power; UCB's Online Audio Recordings Project
I clicked on a link in a Web-based OPAC, and seconds later heard Mario Savio's voice through my computer's speakers as he addressed a 20th-anniversary rally commemorating the beginning of the Free Speech Movement. Another click, and I was listening to...
Philippine Librarians Focus on the Things They Can Change
Democracy, Philippine-style, is rambunctious. Shortly before the filing deadline for the May 11 presidential election, some 81 candidates had tossed hats into the ring. A committee on elections will narrow the field by removing "nuisance" candidates,...
Rugby: Frozen in Time
3. One of the best-kept secrets in the history of American libraries sits picturesquely on a hill in the Cumberland Mountains of eastern Tennessee. The tiny community of Rugby can boast that its library - once the town library, but for many years a historic...
Senate Committee Approves Filtering Bill
The Senate Commerce Committee approved S. 1619, the Internet School Filtering Act, on March 12, but agreed that the bill will be modified based upon proposals from Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mt.) and Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) before it goes to the Senate floor....
Senators Attack Universal-Service Oversight
Three Republican Senators and the General Accounting Office have charged that the Federal Communications Commission overstepped its bounds by establishing the Schools and Libraries Corporation to administer the universal-service telecommunications-discount...
Shared Memory: Libraries and the Poems We Love
THE POET lAUREATE OF THE UNITED STATES UNVEILS H IS "FAVORITE POEM PROJECT," INVOLVING PUBLIC LIBRARIES NATIONWIDE The public library in my home town, Long Branch, New Jersey, was a visibly civic space: a brick Classical Revival building next door to...
The Jewel of Burlingame
1. Renovating a library is difficult enough, but when the old building is a much-loved historic structure - the jewel of its city - the challenges are formidable. When we recently decided to expand our Mediterranean-style public library in Burlingame,...
Using the Web to Find Old Friends and E-Friends
OLD FRIENDS MAY BE BEST BUT SAVVY LIBRARIES KNOW THAT E-FRIENDS CAN HELP BUILD A CONSTITUENCY OF SUPPORTERS An important goal of the University of Pennsylvania Library is to build its Friends organization - what others might call their "membership."...
Wisconsin Director Resigns, Citing Small Town Politics
"I wasn't aware how intertwined politics are in a small town," former Cedarburg (Wis.) Public Library Director Jo Ann Reitman reflected in mid-March, some three weeks after signing her post. That view is borne out by the conflicting portraits of underlying...